Brief Encounter – 1981 – We Want To Play

Brief Encounter may not that familiar to many of you. They released only two LPs, their debut being released in 1977 which articulated the wonder of that era so magnificently.  They continued to release high calibre material throughout that decade, but it wasn’t until 1981 that they finally released their second LP. Please take time out to listen this set, “We Want To Play”, from a band that broke up way way too soon, but have thankfully recently reformed on the back of renewed interest in their wonderful musical heritage.

A1 Rocking 4:05
Since I Met You Girl 3:47
Now I Know I Love You 4:00
Just For Love 3:46
Sweet Tender Loving 4:16
We Want To Play For You 4:27
Open Up Your Heart 3:11
Together In Love 5:26
If You Want My Love 4:29

Research and Review by Trakbuv

Some of you may recall the wonderful British WW2 romantic movie, “Brief Encounter” – the quaint, quintessential tear-jerker that knew its way around a set of old-fashioned heartstrings.  I’m not sure if the band named itself after that particular black and white movie classic, but their bittersweet sensibilities do make it an inspired choice.  Brief Encounter were a 9-strong, self-contained act that included four brothers : Maurice Whittington (lead vocals), Gary Bernard Bailey (lead vocals, bass, guitar, keyboards), Montie Bailey (lead vocals, keyboards), Larry Bailey (sax, keyboards), Velmor Bailey (keyboards), Rufus Wilborn (drums, flute), Fredrick Alexander (drums, percussion), Charles Graham (trumpet), Michael Carter (guitar).  Originating from North Wilkesboro, North Carolina, they apparently had been together from high school. Their first group incarnation was as Sounds Of Soul that included the Bailey brothers, together with friends Maurice and Rufus.

Probably their first single, the rare groove delight ‘Human’ was released in 1970 on Sound Plus Records, and coupled with ballad A-side ‘Total satisfaction’, this really was a glorious entry into the soul market.  Still under the careful guidance of John Richbourg, they recorded their first long player the same year. Released on the now legendary Seventy Seven Records, that went on to commit the likes of Ann Sexton and Geater Davis to plastic, it was an exceptional collection of primarily tuneful ballad and midtempo gems. In 1973, ‘I’m so satisfied’ was released as a single, a sweet soul dreamer, followed by the hypnotic ballad with a beat, ‘(Don’t you see) I’m crazy about you. However, neither made any impact.

They then switched to the much more established Capitol Records label, where they tried their luck with the bouncy, catchy ‘What about love’. This was followed by ‘Get a good feeling’ in 1977, a track lifted from their debut LP some 7 years earlier. It wasn’t until 1981 that Brief Encounter secured their sophomore LP, and the time differential is quite apparent between the two sets. The opener “Rockin’” is a typical disco stomper, sounding like a rejected Kleeer track to these ears. Far more satisfying is the tuneful “Since I Met You Girl” that reminds me a little of Switch with a touch of the Solar Records. “Now I Know I love You” is a melancholic minimalistic number written by Gary B Bailey with him on the dominant acoustic guitar, so am I right in assuming that he may also on be lead vocals ? A surprise and a delight. The next two tracks have me scratching my head – they seem to feature an unnamed female lead vocalist. They also happen to be among my favourite tracks with the sweet glow of rare groove beaming from the notes. “Just For Love” is a lovely two-step ballad with a warm flute adding that special piquant touch. And in “Sweet Tender Loving”, they have a midtempo beauty hung on some simple yet devastating string and horn arrangements. “We Want To Play” has a characteristic groove synonymous with the early 80s, a very nice chug-a-long that is a real grower. “Open up your heart” is another pleasant uptempo booty bopper, this time with a hint of Freeez and reminding me of The Live Band’s ‘A chance for hope’ for some reason.  Having feasted on their debut, the next track was what I was really looking forward to. “Together In Love” takes full advantage of all the delicate tools of a master craftsman in capturing the sophistication of the early 70s with exquisite finesse. A class all of its own. I also really like the nostalgic feel of ‘If You Want My Love’ which would have been so much better if they had used real horns – and probably the best vocal showcase for the band.

In 1983, the band split, their last known performance being at the wedding of Gary Bailey in 1985. In 1988, the P-Vine label in Japan compiled an album entitled “Brief Encounter With Sweet Soul Music” that featured their singles output from the 70s, among other artists.  But unlike many of the artists championed in our pages here at FMS, the belated rapturous applause for our heros has not gone unnoticed.  Brief Encounter have since reformed having noticed the value of their albums up for auction (their debut clearing $2000 a throw). And on September 3, 2010, they released their first single in nearly 3 decades. Entitled “Shake and Move”, 500 copies were auctioned off to raise money for the Haitian Earthquake Relief Fund.  The A-Side is a re-recording of an unreleased track from (possibly) the “We Want To Play” sessions, while the B-Side, “I Want You So Much”, is a new recording.  You can see them perform both tracks live here. It would appear that unlike the movie, Brief Encounter did manage to get back together again and hopefully they will enjoy some of the bliss that their music has gifted us.

Extremely rare to be found.


Conversation for album: Brief Encounter – 1981 – We Want To Play

  • Dreamer456
    Posted at 17:44h, 15 May 2011 Reply

    Thanks so much for this. Can’t wait to listen to it.

  • Jake
    Posted at 20:26h, 15 May 2011 Reply

    Unbelievable! I always hoped to find it. Thanks a lot man.

  • Rafael
    Posted at 10:27h, 16 May 2011 Reply

    I can’t wait to hear this rare set! Thanks for sharing!

  • Izak Haze aka Zak Mckraken
    Posted at 14:24h, 16 May 2011 Reply

    i just found out about the group a couple of days ago and was really amazed!

    Didn`t even know they had a 2nd album (i heard about 2 versions of an album of their earlier songs like “Human”)

    Thanks so much for sharing it with the community – with such albums it really important not to allow the music to get lost but keeping it alive and known!

  • Raggedy
    Posted at 19:00h, 16 May 2011 Reply

    Thank you so much! I can’t wait to find out if this album is quite as good as their first one …

  • hooch
    Posted at 19:19h, 16 May 2011 Reply

    Many thanks – class lp!

  • rich
    Posted at 20:36h, 16 May 2011 Reply

    great group cant wait to hear this one nikos thanx

  • Vladimir
    Posted at 21:59h, 16 May 2011 Reply

    Always a pleasure to discover a new group.Thanks.

  • Robel
    Posted at 02:07h, 17 May 2011 Reply

    Awesome music on this site. I was (not purposely, of course) being rude by not commenting on this blog even though I am on here everyday listening to great music. I do appreciate all the hard work you guys put into this website and I will comment more from now on. Thank you for all the music and as always, keep on!

  • Albert
    Posted at 08:13h, 17 May 2011 Reply

    This is the kind of music i adore. Excellent stuff!

  • Rupert
    Posted at 09:11h, 17 May 2011 Reply

    Thanks dude! Best regard from Paris! Keep on.

  • fleyva
    Posted at 18:10h, 17 May 2011 Reply

    Great tune, love that early 80’s sound….can’t get enough of it!!


  • SoulFunkLover
    Posted at 22:15h, 17 May 2011 Reply

    Awesome music you have. Nikos: you & friends have really a good knack for unknown but really good enjoyable music.

    Thanks for your digging in music history.

  • EoL
    Posted at 08:45h, 18 May 2011 Reply

    A million thanks for this rare gem.

  • Soulman
    Posted at 18:15h, 18 May 2011 Reply

    New to me but sounds very interesting. Many thanks

  • mattis
    Posted at 20:06h, 18 May 2011 Reply

    Thanks!! Big ups from Oslo!

  • Nicolas
    Posted at 09:18h, 19 May 2011 Reply

    A great discover….The kind of record not to be missed !
    Thank you very much !!!

  • wizard
    Posted at 17:52h, 19 May 2011 Reply

    Perfect modern soul. Killer blog.

  • Ricky
    Posted at 08:29h, 20 May 2011 Reply

    oh oh! my my! this is superb!

  • red 78
    Posted at 12:07h, 20 May 2011 Reply

    hi crew…. u’r simply the best!

  • Dominic
    Posted at 19:53h, 20 May 2011 Reply

    Oh wow, this is a wonderful record. I was actually just reading about it and here it is.
    Thank you so much.

  • Raggedy
    Posted at 00:45h, 21 May 2011 Reply

    Finally had time to listen to the tracks. One word: Fantastic!

  • Nikos
    Posted at 10:36h, 21 May 2011 Reply

    Raggedy, indeed is a brilliant record!

  • Anonymous
    Posted at 14:27h, 21 May 2011 Reply

    Why the mp3 – song “just for love” has time 2:47 while on the vinyl is 3:46 ? I know because you haven’t the vinyl, lol. Also this song is not original.

  • Nikos
    Posted at 20:22h, 21 May 2011 Reply

    Yes i do not own the vinyl. I have 3 different versions of the album. They all have “just for love” 2.47. Strange…

  • Sebastian
    Posted at 11:43h, 22 May 2011 Reply

    Amazing post. Thank you for sharing the gems.

  • BornInBarmbek
    Posted at 13:51h, 22 May 2011 Reply

    Thank you for the great mixture of records that you are posting!
    You really got the flavor.

  • Alvaro
    Posted at 21:29h, 22 May 2011 Reply

    Muchisimas gracias.

  • Kirk
    Posted at 08:45h, 23 May 2011 Reply


  • Anthony
    Posted at 18:19h, 28 May 2011 Reply

    Really good Blog….pure gold in here!

  • whoknows
    Posted at 20:36h, 04 June 2011 Reply

    DAMN! what a groove…they can play for me anytime! haha peace peace!

  • Ken
    Posted at 15:18h, 13 June 2011 Reply

    Great work! Love you for sharing 🙂 xx

  • PatrikStarFunk
    Posted at 23:44h, 22 June 2011 Reply

    Amazing track!!

  • J.J.
    Posted at 01:02h, 27 June 2011 Reply

    This is the dopest blog ever. Being a youngblood, I haven’t had the pleasure of hearing to these cuts. I can’t thank u enough. Peace.

  • Ricardo
    Posted at 12:48h, 27 July 2011 Reply

    Great work as always. Keep the funk alive!

  • 92bpms
    Posted at 23:29h, 06 August 2011 Reply

    Awesome post. Love this album

  • Raghib Raghib
    Posted at 15:38h, 18 December 2011 Reply

    Thank you I like to get my hands on this lp

  • MimiSoul
    Posted at 17:20h, 22 February 2012 Reply

    Pure heaven !

  • rich
    Posted at 21:52h, 03 March 2016 Reply

    thank u for this wonderful album and gem

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